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Ohio Officials Post Recreational Marijuana License Application Materials To Prepare Market Launch



Ohio marijuana regulators have posted materials to prepare medical cannabis dispensaries for the opening of applications this week to convert to dual licenses so they can serve adult-use consumers in the new recreational market in addition to patients.

With applications set to launch by Friday, the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) has now posted instructions and an FAQ so prospective dual licensees can get the process started. The sooner those applications are completed and requirements are met, the sooner adult-use marijuana sales can start—though DCC Superintendent James Canepa says the exact timeline is unclear.

“Eligible applicants must carefully review the application instructions and Frequently Asked Questions,” the department said.

The materials cover issues such as eligibility criteria, the approval process, rules for dual licensees and required documentation for the applications.

One of the questions in the FAQ addresses the timing to review and issue dual licenses after an application is submitted.

“It would be difficult to assign a number of days between the issuance of applications and the granting of licenses, because the turnaround time is dependent on whether the applicant files a complete application, if employee badging is complete, if surveillance standards are met, and when any inspection requirements are complete, including the required standards for points-of-sale,” DCC said.

“However, current medical marijuana licensees who have already met the requirements for dual-use licensure and have their points-of-sale properly configured are anticipated to have a much quicker turnaround for issuance of a Certificate of Operation,” it says.

Canepa, the DCC head who previously served as the state’s top alcohol regulator, had suggested before that businesses with dual licenses approved could begin selling to patients and recreational consumers as early as this month.

While applications will be generally reviewed in the order they’re received, the FAQ notes that “applications from cultivators, processors, and testing laboratories will receive priority” in order to “help ensure an efficient supply chain.”

In general, dispensaries with dual licenses will also need to make sure they maintain an adequate supply of cannabis so that they don’t run into situations where medical patients aren’t able to access the products they need.

DCC says each dispensary “must determine what amount of supply meets that requirement for them.”

Applications for the dual licenses are set to open about a month after the legislature’s Joint Committee On Agency Rule Review (JCARR) gave final approval to the proposed cannabis regulations for the adult-use market under the legalization law voters passed last November.

Gov. Mike DeWine (R) doesn’t personally support legalization, but he’s repeatedly criticized the delay in access to regulated products since voters made that choice and possession became legal in December.

Legislative leaders had separately discussed putting together a bill to make various changes to the law, including expediting sales, but the plans have largely fallen apart amid disagreement within the GOP-controlled legislature.

The Senate did pass an amendment package just prior to legalization taking effect, but the House has not taken it up, nor has it moved to advance a different proposal that originate in the House. Senators also recently filed a separate bill to change various marijuana rules.

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Meanwhile, as regulators have worked to finalize regulations for the adult-use market, it already implemented a change in February that allows medical marijuana patients and caregivers to obtain or renew their registrations for only one penny. That fee was then totally eliminated with the adoption of a new rule at last month’s JCARR meeting.

The fee elimination is part of an initial package of rules that DCC released in February to implement adult-use legalization.

Following voter approval of legalization at the ballot, the Department of Commerce was quick to publish an FAQ guide for residents to learn about the new law and timeline for implementation.

The governor, meanwhile, has previously pressed the legislature to enact changes to expedite recreational marijuana sales. But he’s indicated that his more immediate concern is regulating the sale of intoxicating hemp-derived cannabinoids such as delta-8 THC.

“This is time for the legislature to move,” the governor, who also raised the issue during his State of the State address last month, said. “We can’t do it ourselves.”

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Kyle Jaeger is Marijuana Moment's Sacramento-based managing editor. His work has also appeared in High Times, VICE and attn.


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